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Soldier Island of Misogyny

It was evening and the air was anxious with precipitation. I was expecting rain. Being stranded under the porch of nearby shop. What I didnt realise was that I am going to walk into a game of misogyny rush( like minion rush).

I was sitting with a bunch of new acquaintances. There were drinks and awkward anecdotes doing rounds trying to loosen us enough to so that whatever we were pretending to be, could be more genuine. We tumbled into talking about relationships as if that isnt awkward at all. Very confidently I said, to date me the guy has to be a feminist. I was wrong to think that its a norm amongst people with a decent educational background. But being wrong wasn’t so much of a shock as the fact that it was considered appropriate to try to school me on my choices. I was busy counting my stars that I have had the privilege of being a feminist compared to this young man who probably didnt have access to proper education in his obsolete little town where women probably dont  have the freedom to step out of the house(the little bourgeois in me awakening). But little did I know that its the Soldier Island of Misogyny and I am about to be more stranded than what I had originally thought.

Well all men are trash and a man being aware of feminism is barely short of impossible. But I thought my pool of acquaintances would atleast have women who are empowered. But I came across the ‘Cool Girl’. I never really thought Gillian Flynn’s monologue would be like a horocrux of this agony. But yes intelligent women think its cool to be sexist and its painful to witness. Their fathers have bred them well I guess (note the sarcasm). They think they are cool being the bros without realising that they are being considered unworthy as they are. The Cool Girl is reduced to nothing more than the Pavlovian dog.

But I felt that perhaps its all just internalised misogyny and any actual incident would not go unfettered. But then there was the Stockholm Syndrome and it aint pretty. I witnessed a sexual abuse victim cajoling with her abuser. I didn’t know whether to be disgusted, alarmed or concerned. Hence I was all. Who fucked you up honey? I have met victims sexual abuse which was more violent and physically damaging. But I pitied this one the most because her ability to think were probably put in some tijori along with the dowry for her wedding.

So I stood up for the poor hapless child. But I was supposed to not indulge in personal grudges said some. If a woman is abused anywhere on the planet, its personal and the reason why you dont think so is also why someone else is going to decide who you are going to marry as well. It should ideally be more personal to you than to me.

But the worst feeling was to see another feminist be a misogynist. ”

“Why do you treat women a certain way and men another”, I asked? The women are horrible and have personally done horrible things to me. Even if it were true, why does the man get a discount on being a douche and not the woman? If any, the discount should go to woman as she has been brainwashed into accepting misogyny as a norm.

That nearly broke my heart. Its so easy to go back to our misogynous past. That even the most educated, aware of and committed to feminism  have hardly any chance to remain so. I thought of this friend of mine who was all for feminism but her voice used to get several tones softer when talking to men. She had absolutely no control over it. Thats how deep patriarchy runs.

As I mulled over these thoughts, my mind mirroring the dark clouds forming above me,  I was pushed roughly by a woman running to get into a standing train to the burbs. Irritated, I snapped, “If you cant catch a train, why don’t you just sit at home and cook.”

(hullo internalised misogyny)

And then there were none…

 

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Shh

Shh let’s not say it,

it hurts but why express it.

its killing me and you,

but the roads were different for our blues.

let’s not think it too hard,

because its not approved until its an Archies’ card.

 

Shh lets wipe off those tears,

it doesn’t matter, those years.

that my shoulder was once your home,

but suddenly its an abandoned zone.

Was my love not enough?

or his or his or ruff?

 

Shh stop it already,

lest it be known to the wary,

that its as absurd to me as them,

that you left me in absolute mayhem,

without a message or a note,

you left me with a tragic anecdote.

 

– For Vijoy

Aside
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We Sell Experiences

We sell experiences,

We sell love in a jar,

travel to places afar,

teach you to appreciate nuances,

surprises by the instant.

We sell experiences,

to people far and near,

strangers who suddenly become dear,

not afraid of the distance,

seamless, endless without hindrance.

We sell experiences,

taste food from lands unknown,

reap of what others have sown,

get service without the petulance,

without lifting a finger hence.

We sell experiences,

but prepare to be broken,

prepare to do things best left unspoken,

prepare to do the dance,

cannot avoid the askance.

We sell experiences,

Afraid, it’s not much of a choice,

and you would leave none the wise,

the effort on this appearance,

will make you want the interference.

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The Floating Mountains

It was not a good idea to wear shorts. The brambles and the prickly thicket did not care much for preteen fashion. We were climbing up a random hill in Renuka, Himachal Pradesh around ten years ago and thorns were making themselves comfortable with my skin. When we had left the guest house(the only one in that area at that time), I felt quite dapper in my navy blue t-shirt and khaki shorts. I felt like an explorer. Indiana Jones probably smiling under his Fedora. But then as we set out towards the trail that we were supposed to be taking, we noticed a village lad climbing up a path. We took this road less traveled.

Ten minutes into this expedition and the slippery sheath and prickly bushes made me lose the Indiana Jones in me and turn into Fredo Corleone from Godfather II. The trail was steep and difficult especially if you are often associated with a cow, pig or any such being not known to lithe. Soon we reached this young lad who had stopped at a clearing, turned out he was as young as the mountain. The life of a hillbilly can do wonders for your waist and skin (as long as you learn to avoid the thorns).

I kept whining as we moved further up against the recommendations of the not so young lad. The closest interpretation of what he said in Pahari would be, “You are too fat for this trail.” I didn’t even need this discouragement. The heat and the thorns had done their business.

We did reach the top but I felt that I had no energy to enjoy the view which was indeed amazing. So I sat there with a grumpy face. All I could think was about the way back. I took a deep breath as we started our climb down.

We came across a village school which had just been let out. A young school teacher came out and was leaving for home. He looked like he was in his 20’s. But looks can be deceiving in the hills. He was wearing a crisp white shirt with navy blue checks and ink blue trousers. His hair oiled and set to perfection. He had kind eyes and a kind smile to match underneath his thin neat mustache. These features are quite common in Himachal. He asked us if we were headed to the town and if so if he may join us.  We gladly obliged. I have a feeling my parents themselves had no clue of the way back.

I don’t remember how Mr. Prim Mustache ( what I decided to call him) made me feel absolutely at ease and extremely chatty. It seemed like a blink of an eye and we had reached at the foothills. I wasn’t tired. Instead I felt charged up. I saw my parents were still huffing and puffing their way down ( the first and only time I beat them in a trek). We parted ways with Mr. Prim and went to Renuka lake after which the town has been named. As I dipped my feet in the mystic waters of the lake, tens of fish came teeming to my feet. It was as if they were kissing a welcome to my feet.

Strangers are always advised against but this tiny hamlet was all about the Indian phrase – “Athithhi Devo Bhavva” ( Guests are God). From the village school teacher to the fish, Renuka is all about hospitality.
Renuka also made me ponder on negativity and positivism. Was there any? Is there a depletion of resources or just a transformation? Maybe it is not about yin and yang, but the void in between. Maybe utopia need not be created as it already exists shrouded by the yin and yang of our perception. There is no end to capabilities, it is merely veiled by the limits of our motivation. The veil may be made of iron or lace depending on the level of motivation, perseverance and dedication one has. The mystical connotation to luck boils down to the permutation of certain hard to measure parameters.

The villagers say that the hills of Renuka are actually floating on the lake and not encircling it. Maybe we should just keep the magic alive. Let the illusion find its reality.

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Image from the web

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Anatomy of a Forbidden Giggle

When its all hush hush,
Trying to explode out of you that rebel
that deviant little giggle,
Like wild hair which hasn’t met a brush,
You try to tame it but,
Plans of its own it has
You are going to get into trouble lads and lass,
You  feel through your stomach it will pierce out a shortcut.
Before you know it, its gushing out of you,
That horrible feeling of embarassment,
with a relief so pleasant.
The stares in lieu.
The anatomy of a forbidden giggle,
quite magical.

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Metaphorically Me

Very few people actually try figuring themselves out. Most accidentally run into themselves. Those who dare to find themselves. There are very few of them. I am not  part of either I would say.But I do have some glimpses to myself. Like a trailer to a hopefully not boring movie.So here it goes. Me

Smile

Toothy and dimpled. Miles is not the kind to get lost in a crowd. He is the kind, you notice in a crowd.  He makes it look that its easy. Miles recalls the times when it was easy. He took it for granted. But then he came across a dark period where he was unable to stretch even a little. He learnt some things that time. He is better now. Even when it is really bleak, he knows he has to give it all. And he does. No he is never fake. Even when it is difficult, he just enjoys it. Not because its a great day, great week or even a great year. It is because it doesn’t have to be great to smile. But the smile can make it great. Miles can.

A Broken Flower

Busy , busy, everybody looks so busy. But well Lily has to be bright and vibrant regardless of whether anybody notices or not. That is just who she is. But oh boy that man on the cellphone, he looks occupied and he is headed straight towards her.

There was no noise when he banged into her. He probably thinks its just a bump. But she is broken. There is barely any of her left. He turns back, gives an unconcerned apology and rushes off. Her cries of pain are muffled by her small frame. If a flower cries, but nobody sees, did it even cry? Lily knows all too well. She wishes the fellow some luck with whatever it was that made him so. She says to herself.

”I barely have a petal or two left, time will heal me. But I am going to be me and well maybe nobody will notice my wounds.”

Till this day. Nobody has. Lily will never be known as a victim. She will always charm you out of that disposition.

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An Unread Book

Charlie has been on the bookshelf since he was bought. When he was leaving his other friends at the bookstore, they all wished him luck. They said, have a full life! Stretch yourself out! Lose a page or two! May you be all dog eared and torn!

But Charlie is still in the cellophane cover he was wrapped in. Every time somebody comes towards the bookshelf, he was praying to be picked. One day he was picked. But only to be kept back.  He lost most of his self esteem there. ”Am I not worth it?” He thought. However now he prays that someone would read him and not just pick him up. Its not like he is one of those fat dusty books, then why does nobody want to read him? He fears that there is algae formation on his back. But atleast that way he will break from his cellophane cage.

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Movie Stub

Eric loves the movies. He knows everything about them. Today he is exceptionally happy because he is finally going to enter the movie hall. Today he gets to be a movie ticket. He had been safely kept in a drawer just for today. He is transferred into a wallet. As he gets closer to the cinema, his heart beats faster. He is being taken out. His heart might just leave his chest.

Eric spends two amazing hours in sheer awe. But good things come to an end.

”Wait a minute?! You cant just dump me like that.” Eric is anxious. Then another movie ticket tells him, “Kid the show is over. Now you are just a stub. You didn’t expect it would go on forever did you now? ” Eric does not respond. He doesn’t want to admit its over yet.

The Earrings

Delilah and Layla, they are the quite some girls, these two. Little old school but not left behind in any sense. When they are on an ear each, they make people turn and look. Some days they just lie around listless. They say its worth the wait. When they do finally get to head out they take in all that they can. They are peppy and sassy these two. Don’t let their old world look fool you. These sisters will have you all wrapped up before you even know it.

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Shoes

Jen and George. Don’t let them start talking. you will never hear the end of it.They can never stay still. Always in search of a new adventure. Thus they always have way too many stories to tell. It is quite a chore to put these two to rest.

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I am but only a metaphor.

I will not be something someone has already become,

nor will anyone ever be what I am.

I am more than what I can say

and less than what I will be some day.

I am what you see,

I am what you didn’t see.

I am but only a metaphor.

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Home of the Nomads

There is no place like home. A phrase used quite often. The United Nations Human Rights Commission stated that around 100 million people in the world have been classified as homeless. This homelessness is based on the parameter of having a roof over one’s head. For all those children and adults suffering from abuse and domestic violence home is not where they live either.

There is no place like home indeed. But what is home is left to one’e own personal definition. It cannot be restricted to walls and roofs or any other tangible structure. Then what is home?

For me its a manifestation of utmost comfort. Some don’t realise they were home until they leave it. Others don’t realise they were never home until they leave it. Home is a state of mind then. The shade of a lonesome tree becomes home and the safety of a fortress ceases to be one. What is worse is when the home you had once loses its homeliness.

In that context I think I would rather be a nomad or a gypsy who live as they go. The road is their home . It doesn’t matter if things don’t turn out that good, they can always find another home. Are they escapists? No. They are just adaptive. They might not let their roots grow deep, neither do they let setbacks stop them.

Maybe we should all be nomadic. Harness the camels of our imagination and set out and find that elusive peace of mind. If nothing else we will always have the road.

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